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One of the world's first black supermodels Naomi Sims passed away

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Updated on: 2017-11-22

Naomi Sims, one of the world's first black supermodels, has died at the age of 61 after a battle with breast cancer on 1st August 2009 in New York. Sims broke barriers when she made the cover of Ladies Home Journal in 1968 — becoming the first black model to do so on a mainstream women’s magazine. She became an icon of the "Black is Beautiful" movement after she appeared on the cover of Ladies' Home Journal magazine in November 1968. She later graced the covers of Time, Cosmopolitan, McCall's, Life and many other magazines. It was a defining achievement for the “Black is Beautiful” movement at the time – and Sims went on to appear on the covers of Life, Cosmopolitan and Essence. Raised in Pittsburgh, she came to New York at age 18 to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology and hit the pavement to jump-start her own modeling career. Audrey Smaltz, a fashion editor at Ebony magazine said 'success as a model "started the whole whites accepting blacks," paving the way for others, including Beverly Johnson.

Sims quit modeling in 1973, saying she was bored and disenchanted with the use of racial quotas in the fashion industry. "If they use you, it's because you're Black," she said in the biography posted on her personal Web site. Sims married in 1973 and soon gave birth to a son, Robert. She launched a successful wig collection targeted at African-American women in 1976, followed by a cosmetics line in 1986. Sims wrote several books focused on beauty, health and career advice for African-American women.



 
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